mioty® for monitoring the water requirements of urban trees in Erlangen

© Agvolution GmbH

Climate change has numerous effects on trees in cities. These include, for example, increased temperatures, increased extreme weather events and changing precipitation patterns. During the recent droughts in Europe and rising temperatures in cities due to increasing soil saturation, many trees in Erlangen have dried out and died because they were not watered in time. On the other hand, some trees were watered more often than necessary, which can affect the health of the trees just as much as if they receive too little water.


Initial situation

There are currently 22,000 trees registered in Erlangen, 1,500 of which are under 10 years old. These trees in particular need to be watered regularly to promote crown and root development. However, irrigation resources and personnel for this task are limited, meaning that a tree can only be visited every two or three weeks. Therefore, it is a challenge to ensure that all young trees receive the necessary care to promote their growth and health, thus contributing to the preservation of urban greenery.


In order to prevent the loss of trees in cities, a data-driven recommendation algorithm is being developed as part of a project by AGVOLUTION and the Chair of Machine Learning and Data Analytics at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg with the city of Erlangen, which determines when which city tree needs to be watered. In this way, the more critical trees are supplied first. Trees with a larger water reservoir can be watered later.

The mioty® radio technology from Fraunhofer IIS is ideal for this task. It enables reliable and energy-efficient transmission of data over several kilometers and is independent of other mobile phone providers. The sensors require very little energy and can therefore be operated for several years on batteries alone. Alternatively, they can also supply measurement data completely autonomously by equipping them with a small solar cell. The city of Erlangen is equipped with a relatively dense mioty® network, which is used for data transmission. The data for this approach is collected via 80 hardware sensor units from the company AGVOLUTION, which are distributed throughout Erlangen. They measure soil moisture, temperature and precipitation at 16 sensor locations.


Overall, the project was able to demonstrate that the intelligent monitoring of water requirements saved the city of Erlangen water and kilometers of driving as well as avoiding new plantings in one season. This results in significant cost savings, particularly due to fewer new plantings.

Implementing mioty® sensors for irrigation monitoring is cost-effective as they provide a long-term solution and require less maintenance. mioty® is known for its robustness and immunity to interference, which means that data transmission remains reliable even in urban environments with a lot of radio interference. This is crucial for monitoring a large number of trees in different parts of the city. The reliability of mioty® enables efficient coverage of large areas, which is both time-saving and personnel-efficient. This can help to optimize the irrigation and maintenance of urban trees and thus also reduce the loss of trees.